136 CRF: Ready at a moment’s notice

  • Published
  • By SrA Bryan Swink
  • 136th Airlift Wing

In the blink of an eye, a natural disaster could strike the United States or military operation on the other side of the world could require a flight line to be opened at a moments notice. This is when the 136th Contingency Response Flight springs into action.

Previously known as the Airlift Control Flight, the 136th CRF is a compact force, capable of short-notice, worldwide deployment to any airfield setting up mobile command and control of contingency, humanitarian, or exercise missions.

As an Air National Guard unit, the 136th CRF has a dual role of serving the state of Texas under the command of the governor during peace time and state emergencies or being part of the active-duty force under command of the president during contingency or other federal taskings.

“The unit is made up of a 16-person, action-oriented team which provides immediate impact upon arrival to domestic or war-front operations,” said Master Sgt. Jerry Jacques, 136th CRF noncommissioned officer in charge of communications and aerospace ground equipment. “Regarding national humanitarian efforts, the 136th CRF is geographically positioned in the center of the United States which gives us the ability to reach both coastlines within four hours of flight time.”

Each member of the unit is highly trained in their respective job within the Air Force and cross-functionally trained in contingency operations and response. The Airmen are trained in such specialties as logistics, air transportation, operations, communications, weather, security and equipment maintenance.

The 136th CRF is postured to respond with tasked personnel and equipment within 36 hours of notification and is capable of self-sustainment for five days.

During one of Texas’s most devastating hurricanes to hit the Gulf Coast, the 136th CRF deployed to the coastline to support the humanitarian efforts during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. The unit remained in place nearly a week and staged 19 Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, evacuated more than 1250 passengers and moved 355 tons of cargo.

Less than a week after supporting Hurricane Harvey, the unit was back on the move the next month flying 117 missions supporting the relief efforts in Key West, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands during Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Responding to three hurricanes was exhausting but so incredibly rewarding for the team,” said Senior Airman Kerryn Sarwansingh, 136th CRF personnel support technician. “We knew people needed help and everyone in our unit was completely focused on the mission at hand.”

When the unit is at home, their primary focus is to train and prepare for the next deployment which could arise at any time. The 136th CRF also participates in training exercises such as Exercise Vigilant Guard held stateside and Operation Pitch Black located in Australia, to maintain and develop capabilities for both humanitarian and operational scenarios.

The 136th CRF is a stand-alone contingency response unit which belongs to the 136th Airlift Wing. For more information, visit www.136aw.ang.af.mil.